Valley Voice News Chilliwack February 2010Archive

 Voice Exclusive                                           Thursday February 4th 2010

Walk Around The World


"Walk For Memories" Promotes Fitness For Funds

Exercising for Alzheimer's awareness                                                                                                   Craig Hill/Voice

                                                                                                                            Craig Hill/Voice photos.

Chilliwack Mayor sings the national anthem, "Oh Canada" at the Walk For Memories fundraiser Sunday while Cst. Boudreau salutes and a girl (back) stands at attention.


        here was a trade-off Sunday for hundreds of Chilliwackians who walked,

        rolled, tumbled and limboed their way through the Alzheimer Society's 8th Annual "Walk for Memories" at the Landing Sports Centre. That trade-off was an opportunity to exercise for charity and it didn't matter whether your jaunt was 5-steps or 5-kilometers.

Last year the event raised about $16,000 and the Society hopes to raise more than $20,000 this year. At press time all the totals were not in yet, but across the province the donations were over $500,000.00 and Chilliwack matched last year.

Ron Angell, Chair for the the event and also a retired RCMP, worked long hours volunteering and was the driving force for the Walk along with Gail Johnson who is also retired and worked for 30 years at city hall. 


Investors Group Al Limbert, organizer and co-chair of the event, demonstrated the cowboy two-step to some of the Fusion team members in a warm-up with before the event started in the lobby.

"Part of what we're doing is to have a lot of fun with the people who are out here for the walk and what we're going to try and do is get some of the cheerleaders to lead the line dancing in the event," said Limbert. "So I was teaching them something that they might be able to do, sort of to get some excitement going as people are walking around the building."

Organizer Ana Macedo started things off by thanking the many volunteers, including Chilliwack Senior Secondary students who helped setup and clean the building.


Each year the walk has a different "honouree" and this time it was Donald "Bruce" Wilkinson. Honourees are selected by the Society as they become aware of a particular family's struggle and battle with the disease.

The Wilkinson family poses for a group picture

at the Walk for Memories last Sunday.

Wilkinson, who was stricken by the disease in 2005, demonstrated he was still going strong by dancing a couple of jigs before posing for photos with thirteen other members of his family. Support from the family is important to Wilkinson and all the generations in his family are aware of the illness "especially the kids" who help him cope with the disease.


Donald's son, Brian Wilkinson, spoke on behalf of the family. "My dad was diagnosed 5-years ago when he was 62 and one of the most important things was early diagnosis and we got my dad on the Alzheimer's medicine which gives my dad the ability to maintain a higher quality of life and some real quality time with our family," he said. "My niece Holly has done a program, the motto is 'A penny for your thoughts could save theirs' and she went on a big penny drive and raised a whole bunch of money for the cause."

Wilkinson told the Voice that the medication his father is on is not the magic bullet they all hope for. "Its not a cure but it maintains the sickness so the dementia part of it is not as bad," he said.

To Wilkinson, having family there for his dad is paramount. "He needs the support and it's easier to understand what he's going through," said Wilkinson. "In a day-to-day reality you need a lot of support, you need family support to be there and that's what he has so he's lucky in that way."


The Fusion Cheerleader group piked, tucked and did hand springs on the blue square mats in the middle of the auditorium floor and in front of a big symbolic "A" that was covered in blue and white balloons.

Grade 4 Robertson Elementary School and Fusion team member  Paige Van Roy was excited about being there Saturday for some funambulist fun. "We're going to put on a big show," said the 9-year-old who's been with Fusion for the last two-years.



                                                                            Paige Van Roy "Youth" level Fusion Cheerleader.


Jillian Armit, Support and Education Coordinator for the Fraser Valley with the Chilliwack Alzheimer's Society thanked the staff and volunteers at the event while addressing the enthusiastic crowd.

"We all need each other if we're going to make a difference," she said. "Currently 70,000 people in BC are living with dementia and if we don't do something now by taking action with things like we're doing today then in 20-30-years there will be 180,000 people living with dementia."

For more on this story and to see the gallery go here.


                                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Voice Community                                           Monday February 1st 2010

Sto:lo Youth Employment



Building a Healthy Future

Aboriginal Employment Career Fair attracts hundreds of kids

Craig Hill/Voice         

                                                                                                                                Craig Hill/Voice photos

The Aboriginal Employment fair was packed with dozens of exhibitors and hundreds of fairgoers including the Abbotsford RCMP who were out in full force last Friday.


        he Landing Sports Centre was humming with over 500 people Friday for

        The Sto:lo Nation Community Development, Sto:lo Nation Youth Council and Fraser Health who held their annual Aboriginal Employment & Career Fair at the Landing Sports Centre.

The theme for this year was "Building a healthy future" and featured employer booth exhibits, guest speakers, entertainment, food and prizes.

Samantha Kaji, Sto:lo Nation Manager for Community Development said the fair is the highlight of the year for them. "This is the favourite thing that we do all year," she said. "It's a great chance for the kids to come out and talk to people and ask questions from folks that they might not encounter in their daily lives."

One of the programs Kaji oversees is the employment program which hosts this annual event which targets aboriginal youth in the Fraser Valley from Grade 7 to 12.

There was mountains of information available to the kids and much of that centers around meeting career training pre-requisites before graduating from high school.
Justice Institute of BC Program Coordinator Michelle

Finlay demonstrates CPR techniques at the fair.

"Invariably if somebody wants to be a nurse, they don't realize before they graduate that they need to pickup their Biology and all those wonderful classes while they're still in high school. said Kaji. "So we're trying to help them prepare for their further education by asking some pertinent questions and meeting folks in those fields now."

Larger than expected crowds showed up for the for the fair which had about 56 exhibitor booth from all parts of the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

Emcee Jason Campbell who is also a Corrections Services of Canada employee and local community member of the Seabird Island Band said they exceeded the 400 planned meals.

                             Samantha Kaji and Jason Campbell draw prizes Friday.

"My guess would be based on the amount of bags we gave out, which only the students recieved, adult chaperones etc, we probably had close to 550 people here today," said Campbell. "They're coming from all over the place, as far as Langley, Surrey, Hope and Mission."

The career fair grows annually and Campbell thinks it's a vital part in developing creative job search skills and a chance for the kids to learn self-assurance when it comes to seeking employment.

"I think (the fair) been a success, its getting larger every year." said Campbell. "It's important for the youth to know that employers are actively seeking them and they can gain more confidence knowing that prospective employers want to have them in their workforce."

For more on this story and to see the photo gallery go here.


                                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Voice Community                                           Monday February 1st 2010

"Fight Gone Bad"


Earthquake Hits Chilliwack RCMP Hard

CrossFit training workout helps Haiti Red Cross relief effort to the tune of $1200

Craig Hill/Voice         



                                                                                                                           Joel Tobin/Crossfit photo
CrossFit members lift weights and exercise for the Red Cross on Saturday.


The Haitian earthquake 3-weeks ago hit the local Chilliwack RCMP particularly hard when officer Radzor Baptiste tragically lost a brother, aunt and cousin in the catastrophe.

Cpl. Lea-Anne DUNLOP said the entire detachment was affected. "We have been personally impacted by this, having a fellow officer suffer a great personal loss," she said.

In response to the disaster, Chilliwack Community RCMP Constable Joel Tobin, owner of CrossFit Chilliwack and several other officers that train there wanted to do something to help.

"As a team we explored different options to help raise funds for the relief," said Cst. Tobin. "It was decided that we would host a fundraiser and get people to compete in a workout called 'Fight Gone Bad'".

CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program designed to optimize physical competence in each of the ten recognized fitness domains; cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.

The group was aiming for 24 people to participate in the hastily arranged event, but with only 19 determined individuals they still managed to raise an astounding $1,200.00. All proceeds go to the Red Cross as per Cst. Baptiste's wish.

"We were really fortunate for the generosity of those who attended and we are hoping to raise money for other charities with more events like this one in the Spring," said Cst. Tobin. "The workouts are very challenging and dynamic and have been successful in the past to help raise funds."

Cst. Tobin was pleased with the turnout and grateful to everyone involved in the effort for their dedication.


                                                                                                                            Joel Tobin/Crossfit photo

Participants in the CrossFit Haitian relief fundraiser Saturday at Promontory

Community Church Gym.

"A very big thank you to everyone who participated and helped us put the event together. said Cst. Tobin. "We couldn't have done it without you and it was so great to see those who participated work so hard for such a good cause."

The final scores were the highest yet from Andrew Swartz of CrossFit Vancouver for the highest men's score of 392 and to CrossFit Chilliwack's very own Kerri Huck for the highest women's score of 308.

The fundraiser took place at Promontory Community Church who donated the space, stage and sound system.

For more information on CrossFit training programs visit their website: call 604-791-1299 or e-mail to:

                                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Voice Local News                                           Friday February 5th 2010

Five Corners Rally


Anti-Poverty Olympics Protest Highlights Homelessness in Chilliwack

"End poverty, its not a game "

 Craig Hill/Voice


                                                                                                                                Craig Hill/Voice photos

Anti-Poverty Olympics organizer Trish Garner took her campaign to Five Corners in Chilliwack Monday.

Speed, stamina and strength had nothing to do with the Anti-Poverty Olympics that rolled into Chilliwack last Monday. Organizers were almost an hour late after a vehicle breakdown en route to the protest which had already begun without them at Five Corners.

Chilliwack's poverty rate is listed by StatsCan as having a 13.7 per cent poverty rate and the protest was created to bring more awareness to homelessness and poverty in BC.

SFU student Trish Garner, organizer for the Anti-Poverty Olympics, has been running a campaign to bring awareness to poverty and homelessness in the Lower Mainland. She is currently studying for her PhD., but has still found the time to get the message out for 3-years running.

"This is the Poverty Olympics Torch Relay and Chilliwack is one of twenty communities around BC

Teresa Stadnyk protesting Olympic spending      taking part in the torch relay," said

while many in BC are homeless.                        Garner.

"The point is we want to raise awareness about the shocking levels of poverty and homelessness around BC. Most people think that maybe its just an issue that's located in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver," she said. "But it's not and people around the province are suffering."


The small undaunted group of locals that showed up at the clock tower on time with their signage weren't deterred by the missing organizers and took the protest into their own hands.

Teresa Stadynk, has lived in Chilliwack for the past 15-years, was there after reading about the planned protest in print media. She was toting a sign that read "I Need Affordable Housing Now". Stadynk, an unemployed nurses aide, told the Voice that she wasn't getting enough hours in at work and eventually found herself without a place to live. Currently she is staying with friends.
                                                        Fraser Canyon Federal NDP riding Pres. Al

                                                        Ens at the rally on Monday.

Stadnyk is 100 per cent against the Olympics and was very vocal about the lack of affordable housing in Chilliwack.

"We've got money to spend on the damn Olympics and yet BC is for the 6th-year we have the highest poverty rate in Canada and yet they've got money to afford the Olympics here, Said Stadnyk. "Come on, give me a break, this is bullshit."

"There are homeless people in Chilliwack and you know what? They're not homeless by choice. They're homeless because we haven't got the rent money. They give you $580/mo. on social services to live. Try and rent a place for that."

The diminutive protest didn't run to script as a planned parade was nixed however a hockey net with a photo of Premier Campbell on it called "Slapshots for Poverty" was set up for people to shoot balls at. Their version of an Olympic torch mounted on a medical gurney was also wheeled up to the protest site.

British Columbia Schizophrenia Society member Myrtle Macdonald was at the rally and has also been busy writing letters to Fraser Health trying to get them to realize that it was wrong for their CEO, Dr. Nigel Murray to accept a $30,000 bonus.

According to Macdonald, Murray's base salary is already "at least $350,000" and she doesn't understand how he could take the bonus in one hand and ruthlessly cut much-needed community programs with the other.

"There are 200 homeless in Chilliwack and probably half of

Myrtle Macdonald is upset about recent cutbacks

to programs for homeless people with mental illness.


them have a mental illness that is untreated or poorly treated. The Schizophrenia Society has had a cut-back of $4,700 for a public education program that we run," said Mcdonald.

The cuts have reduced their capacity to be able to provide treatment to people. "There aren't enough staff to treat them and you can't treat them if they refuse," said Macdonald.

A homeless person with a mental illness can't be forced into treatment so in that case there are outreach nurses who can work with them and Macdonald used to work in the trenches as one in Montreal.

"I had 200 in my caseload and by visiting them in the places where they lived, I was able to get them into treatment.

President of the NDP Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon Federal Riding, Al Ens, heard about the protest via e-mail and spoke to the Voice at Five Corners.

"I thought it should be something I should come out and support," said Ens.

By and large Ens supports the Olympics but is unsupportive of the amount being spent on the games.

"I think it's gotten far too corporatized and just the billions that are being spent on it now. I'm not sure spending billions on the Olympics is putting our priorities where they ought to be," he said. "The government should be spending money on those that need it first and that isn't necessarily the people involved in the Olympics ... the billion-dollar security costs is a concern."

Anti-Poverty mascot Itchy the Bedbug also spoke to the Voice at the rally. "We are here to spread the word that homelessness and poverty is a reality across this rich province."

The torch, on the bed, will be pushed from Langley to Vancouver ending at Alexander Street on February 7th between 1 pm and 3 pm.

At their opening ceremony they'll feature "The Poverty Anthem", the unveiling of the torch and the mascot dance starring Itchy The Bedbug, Creepy the Cockroach and Chewy the Rat.

They'll be running their own sport events like a hockey game with the Vanoc Predators, the Broken Olympic Promises Slalom and the Housing Hurdles.

To see the entire gallery of photos go here

- For information about the Poverty Olympics visit:

- A website created by and for the street community:


                                                                                                                      © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Voice Letter To The Editor                             Friday February 5th 2010

FHA Under Fire


Fraser Health CEO Dr. Nigel Murray Slammed For Taking $30K Bonus

Hard times ahead for mentally ill in Chilliwack

Special to the Voice



                                                                                                                                   Craig Hill/Voice photo

Myrtle Macdonald, 88, at the Anti-Poverty rally last Monday at Five Corners.


The Voice received the following letter from Myrtle Macdonald and we felt this was something that affects many in the community and we needed to share this with our readers. Subheads were not written by the Macdonald but inserted by the editor.


Chilliwack Supportive Housing Society

I have been a member of the BC Schizophrenia Society since 1989. Since 1990 I have been a family representative on local, regional and Provincial Mental Health Advisory Committees.


Twenty years ago some BCSS members formed the Chilliwack Supportive Housing Society, Inc. First they built an apartment block with 10 single and one double apartments. Then they decided that single independent apartments scattered in the city would be much better for the rehabilitation of mentally ill people. Once a year they bought one single apartment. Now with 9, they are elderly and feel they lack energy to buy more. They have 10 mortgages and the monitoring of upkeep and support of 20 individuals. The mortgages are paid by $375 from the disability pension of each resident. Their handling of ongoing responsibilities is praiseworthy. Fraser Health could do likewise and much more to raise the dignity and confidence of the mentally ill.

Fraser Health Housing Plan
Some ten years ago I had a part in preparing the Fraser Health HOUSING PLAN. Eventually it was accepted but not properly funded, so very little of it has improved homelessness. Too much emphasis is going into building new group homes. The emphasis should be on enough community mental health workers to support Single Independent Living.


Outreach Nurses Help the Disenchanted

There are 200 homeless people in Chilliwack and the number is growing. About half have mental illness. Some resist treatment but I know from experience that a caring nurse who visits the consumer (mentally ill person or client) and his/her family can win their trust and get them into regular treatment. I did that work myself in Montreal for over three years. In all that time, only 6 of my 200+ clients had a relapse and had to be readmitted. The rate of relapse is much higher here, and that is unnecessary.


People are mentally ill through no fault of their own, and through no fault of their parents. Newer medications if skillfully monitored do wonders, but not without programs to help them develop social and employment skills. There are no programs in Chilliwack to help mentally ill people find employment and to support them on the job or with job sharing. There have been a few good programs in the past, but funds always ran out after 4 to 6 months. That left them feeling defeated and without enough experience to hold a job.                                                             Web photo

Most mentally ill people have above                Fraser Health CEO Dr. Nigel Murray average intelligence, so want employment

that is superior to maintenance or packaging.

Services for the mentally ill have always been far from adequate. For the few who are willing lifelong to get regular treatment by psychiatrists supported by a treatment team, there are good results. However 95% of the mentally ill are largely neglected. Community follow-up and after hours service are largely lacking. There have been many suicides, usually evenings and weekends when there is no one available to help at the Clubhouse, Emergency or Mental Health Centre.

Fraser Health CEO Accepts Hefty Bonus
I heard the interview with Dr. Nigel Murray, CEO of Fraser Health, on CBC radio Dec 21. He admitted to receiving a bonus of $30,000, but excused himself for accepting it by saying "The Board decides my salary."


The cut backs should be made to administrators not to the mentally ill. They do not need an annual salary over $300,000. Many of us have to live on less than $30,000. Someone on a disability pension gets $9500 which includes $375 per month for housing. No one can find a decent apartment for that. A few mentally ill people also get a small SIL (Single Independent Living) subsidy. If a new person is added, a former recipient of SIL is dropped, even though their illness is lifelong. Without a subsidy they cannot pay their rent so are evicted and become homeless or double up with others in overcrowded hovels. The amount ought to be at least doubled for twice as many people or more. Many cannot get help from their family because they are out of touch or have parents who are elderly and on low fixed incomes, less then $25,000 a year.

Travel Costs Paid Don't Reflect Actual Cost To Caregivers
Fraser Health Authorities consists of Fraser East, Fraser North and Fraser South, including 14 communities. There are 5 communities in Fraser East alone: Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Agassiz and Hope, with a population of about 300,000. Fraser Health workshops and advisory committees (WRAP, R & R, Consumer and Family and funding plans, etc., etc.) are held in Surrey, at Fraser Health headquarters. Fraser East is allowed two representatives, a consumer from Chilliwack and one family member from Abbotsford. Because of cut backs in travel from $0.48 per km to a flat rate of $30, for round trips of 150 to 250 km, highway congestion and the time required to travel, attendance is poor. Fraser East families and consumers are rarely heard.


Fraser Health's Skewed Services

The hierarchy never meet the 700 or more mentally ill people from Chilliwack. Family and consumer representatives from Fraser South and North are strangers, so do not understand the needs of Fraser East. Rise up and protest skewed services in favor of Metro Vancouver.

Fraser Health Authorities should be divided into three independent Health Authorities, reporting directly to the Ministry of Health. Fraser South, North and East each have sufficient leadership and do not need supervision, especially not by people who are not currently in direct care. Peer supervision is more effective and transparent. CLOSER TO HOME is better. Thus several layers of the health care hierarchy could be eliminated, thus saving a vast amount of money. The 12 Vice-Presidents and their many admin assistants and experts, should be transferred either to the Health Ministry or to direct care. If they are social workers or nurses, they should all have a case load of mentally ill consumers (clients). Without ongoing practice they get out of touch with reality. In the ivory tower they keep asking for surveys and revision of plans and updating of this and that. Why waste time reinventing the wheel?


Treatment Options Are Myopic

I had a part in preparing BEST PRACTICES 10 or 15 years ago. Although they are still up-to-date, they have never been properly implemented because of chronic shortages of staff engaged in rehabilitation. The staff have stayed mainly behind their desks, just 9 to 5 five days a week. Supervisors with other backgrounds might be suitable to implement vocational or recreational treatment.

Few family doctors are familiar with the resources available for rehabilitation. Every mentally ill person should be referred to the clubhouse and to Mental Health Centre. They should have a treatment team of case manager, peer support worker, community support worker and a family member. Family members should be referred to the Chilliwack Branch BC Schizophrenia Society for help in accessing programs and coping, while their loved one is being slowly diagnosed and monitored for effective treatment.


Fraser Health Program Cutbacks

Some of our members lead the Partnership Public Education Program, in which a panel of consumers and family members tell about their experiences with mental illness. They do so in high schools, colleges, service clubs, police and church groups, etc. Our Fraser Health funding will end after March 31st. We lack funds to teach the twelve session course Strengthening Families Together. In Abbotsford BCSS, Fraser Health have stopped funding this program for families, and the 14 session Bridges course for consumers.

Fraser Health has also eliminated funding for non-profit workshops that train consumers in woodworking, photography, sewing, comedy, etc.

Decommissioned Detox Services
Our effective DETOX centre in Chilliwack General Hospital is being closed, based on a mistaken interpretation of statistics. There was always a waiting list. Patients needing detoxification are told to go to Surrey. They should be given a bus ticket and capable companion to get them there. After that they need a support program reaching into their homes - long term. About half of the mentally ill have dual diagnosis of drug abuse. There are about 700 people with schizophrenia in Chilliwack (1:100 of the population) There about triple that with bipolar and severe debilitating depression.

I urge everyone to protest the cutbacks to mental health, the dysfunctional huge size of Fraser Health, the high number of rungs in the Fraser Health bureaucracy and the high salaries.

Every administrator should get out from behind his or her desk to implement BEST PRACTICES and: live simply so that the underemployed, undertreated and homeless may simply live.

Health Care Worker Overtime Is A Pay Racket
Another serious waste of money in all of health care, is the payment of overtime, time and half, double and even triple. The unions cannot stop this racket. Only government can. Meanwhile casual staff get so little total pay per annum, that there is labor unrest. Enough professionals and paraprofessionals should be hired for work around the clock. Job descriptions can include extra duties for slack times.

Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack

BC Schizophrenia Society


- The BC Schizophrenia Society meets at Chilliwack Middle School library at 7:30 pm on the first Tuesday of every month. For information call Myrtle 604-795-6390 or by e-mail to: 
- A website created by and for the street community:



                                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 The Joe Report                            February 6th 2009            


              Ready, Set & Almost Go!

               Chilliwack ready on eve of torch run




                                                                                                                      Joe Reporter/Voice photos

The Mitchell family wear tee shirts designed by son Myles at City Hall Friday. They are standing in front of a panoramic City of Chilliwack sign which will be on the "Colossus" stage Sunday for the lighting of the cauldron.


Chilliwack is buzzing and has the pre-torch jitters. VANOC's Olympic people were cruising through Chilliwack today affixing the round orange markers along the route torchbearers will run, walk and ride on.

Myles Mitchell was chosen Chilliwack's community torchbearer to light the cauldron at Prospera Centre Sunday was also at City Hall for the media briefing Friday. Both he and his parents were excited to be a part of the once-in-a-lifetime event and they all were wearing Myles' Olympic-themed tee shirts that he designed for his tee shirt graphic design business.

Mitchell graduated from Sardis Senior Secondary and later attended UCFV where he studied historical theatre and before deciding to start his own business designing tees.

There will be a free shuttle service running every fifteen minutes from 11 am to 6 pm (every five minutes in the peak period) between Chilliwack Heritage Park and the Landing    Orange circles mark the torchbearer's routes    

Leisure Centre. Expect some      around Chilliwack like this one on Hodgins Ave.

traffic delays in Rosedale and

through the downtown corridor as the torch and the Olympic vehicles makes its way to the Landing.

Following the lighting of the torch, everyone is invited to attend the 2010 Chilliwack Winter Party which runs until 5 pm. Swimming and skating are free at the Leisure Centre and Landing Sports Centre. Activities including face painting, children’s entertainment, crafts, bounce houses and complimentary coffee and hot chocolate while quantities last.


                                                                                                               © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Joe Reporter

 Voice Local News                                           Sunday February 7th 2010

Interactive Community


The Science Of Having Fun

Show a huge hit as Chilliwack kids pack Evergreen Hall to the rafters

Craig Hill/Voice


                                                                                                                              Craig Hill/Voice photos

Evergreen Hall was packed to the rafters for Science World on Saturday.



        cience World promised that it was going to be a really big show Saturday

        but underestimated the size of the crowd because it was standing room only as over 700 kids crammed Evergreen Hall for the traveling science exhibit which featured live shows and 16 interactive science booths.

When Science World agreed to let Russia's 2014 Winter Olympics organizers use their dome during Vancouver's games, staff came up with the idea of taking the show on the road.

In some BC cities, getting the crowds out to the show can be a problem and they've actually delayed the start of some so they can muster more people. But that wasn't the case in Chilliwack on Saturday.

Pauline Finn, Vice President, Community Engagement, said the city as a whole helped spread the word of the event which astounded organizers with the sheer numbers of kids that showed up at the fair.

"We've never had this many people for an opening ceremony." said Finn. "This is probably the busiest to date and we've been doing  
 School teacher Pauline Finn engages kids in science.

it for almost 5-years."

Many kids don't have the opportunity to travel to Vancouver and so they moved the mountain to the kids. By packing up and leaving their False Creek digs, Science World freed up more money and had more options regarding getting the show out to remote BC communities.

"I have access to more resources right now because we're not operating as a facility so we're doing more outreach," said Finn.

The fair is part of a project sponsored by the Ministry of Education called "A Program for Awareness and Learning in Science" during which time, every elementary school student has the opportunity to go to Science World every year for free. The program is nearing the end of it's 5-year run which basically acted as a tool to get kids more interested in the sciences.

"We want to decrease the barriers and get more kids turned on to science and we have that when we have outreach," she said.

Finn's job traveling with Science World is better than the Olympic Torch Relay crew's job because hers is year-round as opposed to the 4-months that VANOC people are on the road. To say she loves the job is a bit of an understatement.  "I love it, it's the best. I'm a teacher and I've got a science background but honestly I didn't know this job existed," she gushed.   

 The Williams family from Squiala Nation opened the

 ceremony with a traditional blessing.                                            

Members of the Williams family from the Squiala Nation were on hand to sing, drum and give a traditional blessing to the ceremony.

"It's an honour for us so that they can hear the heartbeat of the people and that's what we're teaching our group," one of the brothers told the Voice. "We're trying to teach the younger ones to do the same as we do."

BC Hydro Community Outreach rep, Brandon Young, was demonstrating elements of the "Power Smart" program which quizzed kids knowledge about energy-saving techniques and then ran them through a gauntlet of light switches to turn off and plug-ins to unplug.                          
                                      BC Hydro Community Outreach rep Brandon Young.

"We go to community events and show kids how to conserve energy," he said.

Last year BC Hydro added a Facebook application for customers that want to try and reduce their monthly bill by committing to energy savings.

"Right now we have a program that's online which allows customers to make a pledge and they can track their usage online every month and see how much they are saving," said Young.

The application asks B.C. customers to commit to reducing their energy use by 10% over the next year, and it allows you to pledge your savings to your favourite 2010 Winter Games sport – ice hockey, freestyle skiing, curling, and more. BC Hydro Power Smart's goal is to have 210,000 British Columbians signed up for Team Power Smart by the time the Games begin. After selecting a sport, you can check back each day to take a daily conservation challenge. Each challenge is worth points that can take you up through the medal standings, from Participant to Gold.

There's still time to try it out at

For more information about Science World programs and community initiatives visit their website:

                                                        For the entire photo gallery go here.


© Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Voice Special Report                                     Tuesday February 9th 2010

A City With Olympic Soul


Wasn't That A Party!

Chilliwack Throws The

Mother-Of-All Celebrations

Craig Hill/Voice




                                                                                                                              Craig Hill/Voice photos

Olympic torchbearer Myles Mitchell makes the final approach to the cauldron with the flame at the celebration site in Chilliwack on Sunday.

        he Olympic Torch Relay came and went amidst the deafening cheers of an

        estimated 8,000 people at the celebration site adjacent to Prospera Centre on Sunday. It was a dramatic showing of Canadian patriotism and support for the games from an eclectic crowd amidst a sea of red and white flags.

Torch celebration emcee, Sylvain Gagne, counted the seconds as Myles Mitchell, the last Community Torchbearer, was wheeled down the final stretch and then up the lift to the stage with the torch in a special assembly adapted for his wheelchair. The crowd went wild as he lit the Olympic cauldron with some assistance from his attendant.

One of the proudest mothers in the city was Debbie Mitchell, Myles' mom, who together with her husband, followed behind their son and then watched intently as he lit the torch, smiled and waved to the audience.

Mitchell knew he had one chance to make a statement

that he felt was important


Mayor Sharon Gaetz (L), MLA Barry Penner, Myles

Mitchell, MP Chuck Strahl and Lt. Governor Steven Point

and his wife Gwendolyn are flanked by an Honour Guard

as they sing the national anthem.


and when Gagne asked him about the last 300 meters carrying the torch, he claimed the moment by saying, "I think that, well, I honestly think that First Nations should be adopted for our anthem too."

Later Gagne spoke metaphorically and compared the flame's 45,000 KM path across Canada to the Northern Lights saying it was a "Journey of possibilities, passed from one person to another, one hand to another, one little step at a time."

Gagne pumped up the crowd who cheered each time he yelled out "Chilliwack". People laughed, people cheered and some cried tears of happiness in the much-anticipated event which was years in the making.

There were plenty of local dignitaries on hand and Gagne referred to the Lt. Governor Steven Point as   Chilliwack Senior Secondary Drumline played Sunday.

a "hometown boy" when

asking what he felt like with the torch being in the city.

"Well this is amazing," said Point. "The Olympic Torch symbolizes the spirit and intent of the Olympic Games and has the power to bring us together as one community across this great country and in the province of British Columbia, but today is our day in Chilliwack."

Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Chuck Strahl was amazed at how many people were at the site.

"The crowd here is just incredible," said Strahl. "It just goes off and off into the distance but that's typical of Chilliwack, Chilliwack has the spirit, the Olympic spirit and we're going to be behind our athletes for sure."

Minister of the Environment and Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner also took centre stage and Gagne asked what his most significant memory of the flame was and Penner responded by saying "The absolute best moment is today with the flame reaching the Fraser Valley and we're going to carry

Inez was a crowd pleaser with her superb performance.


this positive momentum from all of you so that Canada will own the podium when the games start," he said.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz first accepted a plaque from the federal government for bringing the torch to Chilliwack and then a torch from Morgan Arnold and Makayla Morissette who are enrolled at the Ecole La Vérendrye French Immersion School. She held the torch up to raucous applause and more cheers.

"Oh my goodness, the people of Chilliwack know how to party!" she said. "You look out over this group and not all of us agree on absolutely everything, but there is one thing that we agree on and that is that we support our Olympian athletes and want to host a party!"

Gaetz took a moment to talk about Kelly Vanderbeek who was knocked out of the Olympics after tearing her Anterior Cruciate and Medial Collateral ligaments in a race in France a few weeks ago.

"You know I want to take this moment to send this out to Kelly Vanderbeek who could not be here and could not be participating in the Olympics but she has done us proud, has she not?"

The mayor thanked Coun. Pat Clark who was instrumental in bringing it all together. "So many people worked on this party, I want to give special thanks first of all to Councilor Pat Clark who headed it all up and she had a great      The Olympic torch leaving the celebration.

committee working with her day and

night. I've seen City Hall full of people working on this event," she said.

Gagne closed the ceremony by saying that Chilliwack had witnessed the "power" of the flame and talked about how inspiring it has been for Canadians. "Now you become a member of the family of Olympic flames," he said. "Welcome to that family Chilliwack, you are now officially a part of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games."

For more on this story and to see the entire photo gallery go here.


Added bonus: Ceremony excerpts.


                                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice Business Report                                     Thursday February 11th 2010

Chamber of Commerce Update



Coffee With Caruth

Mix of old and new in the Chamber board appointees

Staff  Report


Lisa Caruth, Executive Director of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce, dropped by StarFM for an update as to what is going on with the Chamber lately. Here are some highlights from her report on the Scott & Lisa morning show.

On the Olympic Torch Run
We put on our raincoats and packed up the car and found a parking spot and kids on both shoulders and waved our Canadian flag.

Best Olympic Sport
I think my favourite is Ice Dancing.

Casual Connections
February 16th at the Coast Chilliwack Hotel there'll be Casual Connections. Next week we also kick-off Chamber Week. So we'll be doing an extra bit of fun at Casual Connections Tuesday night. Everyone is welcome; members and future members 5 to 8 pm.

Chamber Week
Chamber week, more or less, is it's opportunity for chambers across BC to let the general public, let the business community of every community in British Columbia know exactly what it is we do. There are a lot of tangible benefits. We have a great extended healthcare for small medium and large businesses. We have gas discounts from Esso, from Shell, from Husky Mohawk. A lot of casual benefits that people don't really know about.

Then from an advocacy standpoint, what we do is we lobby the government on behalf of our community and our members on particular issue that effect business in Chilliwack.

Our membership is 600-strong, we partner with the city and we partner with CEPCO and march out to Victoria and we make sure things happen.

There is always an open-door policy at the Chamber office you can give me a call 604-793-4323 and am happy to answer any questions you may have.

New Board of Directors
Effective January we do have a new Board of Directors. February 25th, Mayor Sharon Gaetz will be installing our board at our annual general meeting at the Best Western Rainbow Country Inn. Registration is at 11:30 am and

I'd just like to let everyone know that we have returning board members: Liz Lynch, Barb Kemp, Jason Lum, Heather Rollins, Kate Blokmanis and Jennifer Akitt and brand new board members Joey Beltrano, Joe Bruno, Ingrid Guaw, Kevin Gemmel, Harv McCullough, Gary Moran and Mark Andersen.

We want to welcome them aboard our team. We're stepping it up a couple of notches.

For more information call Lisa at the Chamber: 604-793-4323 or visit:

 Voice Local News                                             Thursday February 11th 2010

Games Giveaway


City Hall "Passes" On It's Good Fortune

Bruins fan wins sought-after Olympic ski venue tickets

Staff  Report



                                                                                                                                            Submitted photo

Mayor Sharon Gaetz (R) and City of Chilliwack Director of Parks Recreation and Culture, Gord Pederson, were on hand to present Brad Rogers shown holding the Olympic torch which was given to city hall by VANOC after the relay, along with the tickets he won in the city lottery.


Last year, the City of Chilliwack entered a draw with Gamestown 2010 for tickets to the Olympic games and guess what? They won. So city officials passed their winnings along in a draw of their own.


Brad Rogers was the lucky recipient of two tickets to the Men's Freestyle Aerial Final on February 25th from 6 pm to 2 am at Cypress Mountain. He won the highly sought after tickets to see the medal round after entering at a Chilliwack Bruins game. The draw was made later on February 7th following the 2010 Olympic Torch Winter Party.


Starlee Renton, Public Relations for the City of Chilliwack, expressed congratulations to Brad Rogers on his win. "He's sure to have an amazing and memorable time at the event," she said in an e-mail press release.


The tickets were courtesy of Actnow, the provincial government's well-being                                                         photo courtesy of

initiative geared towards      Cypress Mountain Freestyle Olympic Skiing run.

helping people make

health related improvements in their lives. The website is loaded with information on eating, tobacco use, healthy pregnancy tips and has activities like the Healthy Eating Challenge.

For more information visit:  and


                                                                                                                        © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Voice Special Report                                  Thursday February 11th 2010

An Olympic Antidote


A Touching Torch Moment

Manitoba dad finds torchbearer daughter by fluke

Craig Hill/Voice


        omething extraordinary

        happened while at the torch celebration site in Chilliwack last Sunday.

As mentioned in numerous media reports, there were over 8,000 people at the Prospera Centre location and it's anyone's guess how many lined the torch route. At the peak of the celebration the crowd was just as dense as it was on the final      Chantal Horel's torch route marker.

night of Expo 86.

While in the media corral at the stage and behind a wall of thousands of people, a guy dressed in his Olympic best leaned over the barricade and told me his daughter was a torchbearer and that she flew in from Winnipeg for the relay and he was trying to find her.

Randy Horel, and about 20 others, had also just flown in from the 'Peg' to see his daughter. They found Chilliwack, they found the celebration site, fought his way through hundreds of people to get to the front of the stage and was standing there scratching his white toque wondering where in all of this Olympic frenzy his daughter was.

It was intense. You can imagine how desperate he was to find his daughter. After all the hours and miles traveled to get there for that moment. He only had a few minutes before the torch was on the move again. I felt badly for him and could barely hear him over the din of the music and cheering.

"She's part of a group that was part of the planning over the last couple of years with "Participaction" and she was selected to carry it here," he yelled. "Her number is 93, do you know where 93 is?"

Surely he must have thought the question was an absolutely hopeless one at that point. But when he told me the number it clicked –– I was there the day before at that spot while out sniffing around the celebration site and noticed some Olympic people hanging the orange route markers. I pulled the car over, got out to get a photo of the number they had just put up, and later included it in a prelude story to the torch coming to Chilliwack (see Feb 6th "Ready, Set And Almost Go" - Okay, I admit I'm Joe Reporter!)

But there it was, freshly etched into my mind –– the number 93.

"Hey!" I shouted back. "I know where that number is! I took a photograph of it yesterday."

His face lit up instantly. "Where?"

I explained exactly where it was and he quickly thanked me and off he ran.


The amazing thing about it was that of all the people in all of the 8,000 that were there that day, he asked the right person where number 93 was. I met that pole the day before. It was touching moment and it made my day to be able to help Horel find his daughter, Chantal.


Do you have any special memories from the Torch Relay? Write us.


                                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice Local News                                             Saturday February 13th 2010

Ministry Mistake


Baynes' Bitter Battle Bolstered By Expert

Renowned doctor testifies in child custody hearing

Craig Hill/Voice


                                                                                                                                   Craig Hill/Voice photos

Surrey sisters Joy Forfey (L) and Lila Parker (R) along with Chilliwack Realtor Rosie Binsted voice their opinions last Monday outside of the Chilliwack Court.

Paul and Zabeth Baynes brought out the big guns for their child custody hearing in Chilliwack Monday. The Baynes have been fighting with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. It's been more than 2-years since their kids were taken from the home on suspicion of child abuse.

According to the Baynes, one of the boys was running in the house while the baby was on a blanket on the floor and tripped over the head of the months-old child which caused swelling on the baby's brain. The event triggered severe medical trauma, the baby stopped breathing and was taken to the local emergency room where medical staff diagnosed the baby with SBS. The child has since recovered and has been diagnosed with Glutaric Acidemia which mimics SBS.                                         Paul and Zabeth Baynes at court Monday.

On Monday, the Baynes brought with them an expert witness to testify on their behalf seeking to have the Ministry release it's steely grip on their kids by way of a court order.

Inside court at a scheduled break, the Voice spoke with the Baynes and when asked how the hearing was going, Paul Baynes, was outwardly calm despite the stress of appearing in court, remained optimistic.

"We just had a doctor qualified as an expert witness and we went through his CV (curriculum vitae), his credentials and his experience and things like that, so I guess after the break we'll be going on and testifying as to the conditions that Stephany has in diagnosing that further," he said.

Some doctors believe that the symptoms associated with SBS can be found in babies who suffer an accidental blow to the head or an innocent fall.

Dr. John Plunkett, a forensic pathologist, purported to be "an expert in childhood head injuries" is one of those who do believe it and the Baynes brought him in to court to give evidence regarding SBS.

He has published medical research papers showing small children get the same types of brain injuries from short falls, genetic

Expert witness Dr.John Plunkett at court.


conditions and viral infections. Plunkett and a co-author listed those findings in an editorial published in a 2004 issue of the British Medical Journal, concluding that "we need to reconsider the diagnostic criteria, if not the existence, of shaken baby syndrome."

Plunkett's work on papers, which look at the harm that can be caused by accidental falls, are controversial. In a similar court hearing in 2007, Dr. Charles Smith, referred to as the top forensic pediatric pathologist in the country, testified that Plunkett's work isn't highly supported by his colleagues. "No, I don't know anyone who does," he said.

Even with the controversy surrounding Glutaric Acidemia and SBS, the Baynes remain undaunted.

"He will be invaluable today," said the children's mother, Zabeth. "But the ultimate of this is going to be a question of is this a case of; was Stephany abused or was it the brother falling on her and are my children going to be returned to us is what we're waiting to hear at the end of it."

The Baynes are staying in a local hotel while the hearing is happening and have her parents doing their janitorial work while they are in court. The trial is scheduled to break for next week and then reconvene the following week and bring it to a conclusion.

"The whole ordeal has been a complete strain on our children as well," said Zabeth. "The loss of all the time we have with our children has been a pain that we wouldn't want anyone else to experience and that we do hope at the end of the day that our children will be restored and maybe the results of the hearing with Dr. Plunkett coming in may help others in the future."

POSTSCRIPT:  Read an E-mail to the Voice from Ray Ferris after the story was published in the gallery. Please follow the link below.

To read more on this story, interviews and to see the gallery of photos go here


                                                                                                                        © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice Local News                                             Tuesday February 16th 2010

Commemorate, Celebrate, Commit


Ready Aye Ready

Fraser Valley Royal Canadian Navy Commemorate their 100th

Staff Report



                                                                                                  Craig Hill/Voice photos.

Neil Currie (L) and long-time Vancouver city councilor Don Bellamy take their HMCS Chilliwack replica to City Hall as part of the 100th Anniversary for the Canadian Navy.


            Here's something you might not know; Chilliwack has a Navy. Even though

            we're landlocked 75-miles away from the ocean, there is a group of 28

            veterans living in the city who are still just as devoted to the service as they were more than 60-years-ago.


It was the 3rd of September, 1939, when a German U-boat torpedoed the passenger liner SS Athenia, bound for Montreal with 1,103 passengers and 305 crew aboard. The ship was a sitting duck and 118 people lost their lives.


So began the 6-year "Battle of the Atlantic" (1939-1945) for control over the shipping lanes which pitted the surface naval forces of the Allies against the notorious "wolf-packs" of Die U-bootswaffe in World War II.


The HMCS Chilliwack was built by the Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy for the protection of shipping convoys and played a major role in repelling the Germans throughout the war years. It was light, fast, cheap to build and had long range which made it the ideal escort.


On March 6th, 1944 the HMSC Chilliwack found a U-boat and chased it for 32 hours off of the coast of Ireland bombarding it with depth-charges forcing the damaged submarine to the surface. A boarding party from HMCS Chilliwack managed to retrieve invaluable information and take 40 prisoners from the U 744  before she sank.                                                                                Canadian Archive photo.

                                         The HMCS Chilliwack as she was in the 1940's.


That was 66-years-ago, and Monday, the Fraser Valley Royal Canadian Naval Association (FVRCNA) presented City Hall with an exact replica of the HMCS Chilliwack, which was named after the city, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Navy.


A contingent of naval representatives were at the council meeting from the 28-member-strong FVRCNA which included Don Bellamy, current President and a flamboyant Vancouver city councilor for 23-years.


Bellamy told council that he has served on the HMCS Chilliwack sister ship, the HMCS Chicoutimi, which is now in drydock awaiting "essential preservation work" prior to a refit while the former city namesake was broken up at the Hamilton docks in 1946.


The model is a stunning work of art and Bellamy explained that the replica was painstakingly put together by Bill Hutchinson and is a carbon copy of the Flower Class Corvette right down-to-the-last-detail.


"This is not a canned model," said Bellamy. "This is handmade and it was made from photographs after it had received a major overhaul in 1943."


The war was hard, to say the least, and until the Corvette ships were made, both Canada and Britain were up against the wall.


"It was tough and I hate to admit it, we came down that coast losing and I remember it well and I keep on reminding everyone I talk to," he said.



HMCS Chilliwack Replica at City Hall.


Neil Currie, Founding President of the FVRCNA told the Voice that part of the Association's Centennial year will be a celebratory tour.


"We will be having the Centennial Roadshow Tour Train that's going all across Canada and it's all celebrations for the Navy Centennial," said Currie. "We've got a stop scheduled here for Chilliwack which is a big huge production and it's going to be at the First United Church on the 21st of September and it's going to be a couple of hours long so keep an eye out for posters and everything that will be coming up."

It's not clear at this time where the city will have the ship on display during the Centennial year and before handing it over to the museum permanently.


Also as part of the 100th Anniversary the government will be minting a Memento Coin produced by the Chief of the Maritime Staff. This coin will have the naval centennial identifier/logo and slogan on one side and the Maritime Command badge on the other side and will feature a blue band with the words "Commemorate, Celebrate, Commit"


                                                                                                                         © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice Exclusive                                                   Friday February 18th 2010

Cool Runnings


Parting Shots

Local photographer shares gallery of stills from Rosedale Torch Relay                 

Staff Report






















Long-time Chilliwack City Councilor Dorothy Kostrzewa (upper photo) rides a trike with the Olympic flame and residents carry the torch through Rosedale. Photos courtesy of Kirtus DeFehr.


Professional Chilliwack photographer Kirtus DeFehr took these photos as part of an awesome series which he managed to get from atop his bicycle through Rosedale on the day of the torch run. The Voice is very fortunate to have the talented local shooter sharing his photographs with us and we pass on our gratitude to him for that.


To see his amazing gallery go here.


If you need a photographer we recommend Kirtus. He also has a blog now with more superb photos and local information.


You can e-mail him at:

 Voice Community News                                 Friday February 18th 2010

Community Cut-backs


Greendale Community School Plan Put On Hold After City Denial

Budgetary restraint continues to hamper fund seekers             

Staff Report


A request from Greendale Elementary School for $12,000 from the City of Chilliwack to help develop and facilitate a Community School initiative was put on hold at last Monday's council meeting.


In order to be classified as a "Community School", Greendale Elementary needs the approval                                                                         Submitted photo.

and support of School District     Greendale Elementary School will have to wait

#33 and City Hall.                       or Community Initiative funds until 2011.


Even though the diminutive country school of about 150 students couldn't get the the kind of support they were looking for, they can however find solace in knowing that their request was just put on hold by council until it can be worked into the 2011 city budget.


Council rejected their request with regret which isn't surprising in light of a huge increase to the PRIME BC rates the city faces which came out of left field late last year.


Those fee hikes of course, hadn't been worked into the city's 5-year budget plan and so plenty of requests for cash since then have also been denied. Greendale is one of the lucky ones because their request has only been put on the back burner and not nixed altogether.


The scarcity of city funds has left many groups in the community scrambling to either find alternative ways to raise money for their projects or put plans they on hold.


When asked how the denial will affect them Greendale School Principal, Deneen Scott, remains undaunted. "It will put them (plans) on hold for now, but I will be reapplying next year for sure," she said.


A Community School, by general definition, is one that brings together various partners to offer an assortment of supports and opportunities for kids and families. Various local groups and organizations also use the school and it's facilities for extra-curricular activities and events.


According to Scott, community schools are not just about teaching children from 9 am to 3 pm.


"What this means is that, with city support, we would be able to offer activities that would benefit our entire community, for example; exercise programs, babysitting, art classes, after-school daycare, evening events, host birthday parties, etcetera," she said.


Scott added that the funds from the city would also be used by the school to supply items for gym activities or to hire a coordinator.


Despite the funding drawback, Greendale will still be able to sponsor activities. Just not as many.


"This doesn't mean that we will never offer programs at our school right now. It means that we won't have as much funding to do what we want to do. At this time, we will continue to provide the best possible education for all of the students in our school community, and when possible, offer community activities as well," she said.

                                                                                                                © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Voice Event News                                               Friday February 18th 2010

City Hall Press Release


Residents Can Watch Olympic  Ceremonies On The Big Screen

Bring a chair, hot choc and a dash of some Olympic spirit to the park next weekend                 

Staff Report



                                                                                                                              Voice Olympic file photo

The city's giant LED screen will be setup the entire day at Central Community Park on Victoria Ave. next weekend for a series of Olympic medal events and moved to the Landing Sports Centre Ag-Rec building on Spadina Ave. for the closing ceremonies the following day.


The following is a press release courtesy of the City of Chilliwack.


CHILLIWACK, BC Calling all Chilliwack residents! Come out and help us cheer the Olympic athletes next weekend on Chilliwack's giant LED display screen.


Central Community Park

On Saturday, February 27, join us outside at Central Community Park from 10:00 am until 9:30 pm to watch the Men's Alpine Skiing, the 4-Men Bobsled finals, Long Track Speed Skating and the Bronze Medal Men's Hockey Game.


The Landing Sports Centre

Then on Sunday, February 28, cheer on the Men's Hockey finalists at the Landing Sports Centre as they battle for Olympic gold. Doors open at 11:30 am for the 12:15 pm game start time. Later, watch as Canada hands over the Olympic flag to the next Winter Olympic hosts, Sochi, Russia; at the Olympic Closing Ceremony, from 5:30 pm until 9:30 pm.


"Chilliwack residents have Olympic fever," said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. "It began at our Torch Relay celebration and has spread across the community. You know you have it if; you've been wearing red and white clothing for the past weeks, if Canadian flags have suddenly popped up around your home and your vehicle, or if your voice is hoarse from cheering on our Olympic athletes!"


The Olympic events will be broadcast on Chilliwack's 11' x 17' portable LED screen, which was custom designed by iCapture Media Systems Ltd., located in Chilliwack. The screen was funded by a $330, 000 matching grant to the City from the Province of BC's Olympic/Paralympics Live Sites (OPLS) program. The screen has approximately 250,000 LED lights and        Central Community Park last summer during Party In

has been used at many           the Park festivities. (Voice file photo)

community events such as

local sporting activities, special events and was invaluable when used as a community message display during the 2009 Floods.


The OPLS made specific funding opportunities available to communities located outside the Greater Vancouver Regional District and the Whistler-Squamish corridor. The matching funding was provided for the construction or upgrading of facilities that leave a lasting Olympic legacy within the community.


Chilliwack's legacy project consisted of three parts: the upgrade and renovation of the Landing Sports Centre, which included the lobby and washroom expansion and accessibility lift, as well a main floor partition, the construction of an outdoor amphitheatre in Central Community Park and the portable LED display screen that will be used in the park and Centre over the weekend.


The total cost of all the projects was $1.59 million. The legacy of these projects has benefitted Chilliwack residents and community groups since their completion in 2006 and will continue to do so well beyond the 2010 games.


For more information contact Gord Pederson, Director of Parks,

Recreation and Culture at 604-793-2904 or visit the city's website:




 Voice Local News                                             Sunday February 21st 2010

Air Apparent


Surplus Cash From Regional Air Quality Budget Pays For Station

Agassiz will be getting a particulate matter monitor 

Staff Report

                                                                                                            Voice file photo.

        gassiz is getting an Air Quality Monitoring Station which will measure PM

        (particulate matter) monitor in the area and a $360,000 surplus in the Regional Air Quality budget will fund the new station so there won't be any shedding of tears from the tight-fisted Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD).


The project has been in the works since 2007 when the FVRD recommended the installation of at least two new measuring stations. It will be a costly venture. The price tag is a hefty $9000 for an ozone monitor and approximately $35,000 for a PM monitor.


Metro Vancouver has an old, outdated ozone monitor that they're willing to give or sell cheaply to the FVRD for use in Agassiz, but the aged system isn't compatible with Metro's new data acquisition network and eventually, if used, will have to be upgraded anyway.          Generic photo of PM monitor.


The question for the FVRD is whether they will use antiquated equipment or buy new stuff. Installation of new equipment would be done at no cost by the suppliers.


Originally, Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre staff and city officials had their sites set on a spot near the existing weather station in Agassiz. But because the location was on an unpaved road and is adjacent to farms, dust from both would contaminate the PM readings. Last word was that it had been decided the location of the station will be at the District of Kent Hall.


                                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Voice Local News                                             Thursday February 18th 2010

Weird Winter Weather


Chilliwack Sees More Warm Temperatures in February

Spring unlocks the flowers that paint

the laughing soil – Heber                              Photo courtesy of Lyvia Rose.  

Staff Report



                                                                                                                                          Craig Hill/photo

A crocus on Courbold Avenue trumpets an early spring Wednesday afternoon.


         here is an upside to the freakishly warm weather we're having –– spring is

         sprung sooner. But it's not recommended to take your snow tires off just

         yet despite the balmy temperatures in the Fraser Valley recently because winter isn't officially over until went March 21st,


A combination of clear, sunny skies and a dry outflow wind is expected to extend through the weekend driving temperatures up into the double digits. Even with the 13°c degrees expected, we're still not close to setting a record for the hottest day in February. That happened in 1968 when the mercury soared to 20.6°c. The average for February is 8°c and the record low for the month was a bone-chilling   -16.7°c.

                                                                                                                      © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice



 Voice Community News                                Monday February 22nd 2010

One God, one faith


Multifaith World Social Justice Day

Chilliwack City Hall overruneth with goodness

Craig Hill/Voice




                                                                                                                               Craig Hill/Voice photos

Harold Rosen from the Bahá'í Faith Community spoke to the Multifaith gathering at City Hall which was set aside for World Social Justice Day on Sunday.


        ne God, one faith. That was the message at City Hall on Sunday where a

        Multifaith gathering saw almost 50 people representing a dozen different religions congregate for an afternoon of fellowship. The mood was reverent and for two hours the City Hall was as tranquil as it will ever be.


There was no hand-clapping or applause just a quiet appreciation for the musical presentations which came from Nabil Fadai on the piano and a trio of singers from the Chilliwack Music Academy who sang a beautiful rendition of Mozart's "Ave Verum".


There were representatives from the many religions throughout the city and they came together, not in religious rivalry, but in religious harmony to celebrate each other's tenets and exchange thoughts about their own belief systems.


The Bahá'í of Chilliwack coordinated the 9th annual gathering as part of the World Day of Social Justice a global event with the purpose of bringing awareness to the plight of impoverished people ill around the globe.


This year, the program's theme was the "Prosperity of Humankind" which originally came from a 15-page publication by Baha'i International that addresses things like fair distribution of wealth, human rights, gender equality and economic justice.


Bahá'í emcee Harold Rosen, had a welcome message and a social justice type of reminder that the land City Hall is on is Sto:lo territory.


"We thank you for being here at City Hall here on traditional Sto:lo land," said Rosen. "Land that is blessed by millennia of livelihood of many untold

Chilliwack Arts Centre singers on Sunday at City Hall.


generations of our first nations brothers and sisters. We delight in all our relations and diverse sampling joining us here today."


The Prosperity of Humankind offers a "vision of prosperity that is both material and spiritual," Rosen told the audience. "Such prosperity must benefit all of the planet's inhabitants without distinction. The document challenges the purely materialistic assumption of global development planning. It looks at human nature and it declares that human nature is intrinsically spiritual. We are aspiring beings motivated by transcended ideals. Ideals like justice and compassion, community and wisdom."


According to Rosen, science and religion can see eye-to-eye in an attempt to find common ground.


"The complimentary nature of science and religion are when science and technology are guided by morality and spiritual principles and humanity's advancement knows no bounds," he said.


For excerpts from the meeting and to see the photo gallery go here.


                                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

 Voice Local News                                            Tuesday February 23rd 2010

On Guard For Thee


Chilliwack Mountie Chosen As Flagbearer At Olympic Ceremonies

The best of the best

of the best

Craig Hill/Voice


As the 2010 Olympic games draw to a close

there'll be more pride, pomp and circumstance, more pageantry and more flag protocol ceremony duty for RCMP officers to perform.                         Cst. Rodzor Jean Baptitse                                                               

Back when the rest of us were being swept up in torch run fever, the Mounties put out a call amongst their own ranks for flagbearers at the opening and closing of the games. They were instantly swamped with a pool of hundreds of names to sift through.


What RCMP brass looked for were members who's ages and lifestyles paralleled the athletes competing in the games, or in other words, they wanted the best of the best of the best.


After rendering the list down to a cast of 64 officers, one of the names on the roster was Haitian-born, Chilliwack Cst. Rodzor Jean Baptitse.


Baptiste, an engineer by trade in Haiti, immigrated to Canada in 2003.


                                                          Frame capture from NBC footage

Chilliwack Cst. Baptiste (second from left) carries the flag

in the opening ceremonies at BC Place.


Once here, he tried to use the Haitian degree but it wasn't accredited in this country. Undaunted and determined to succeed in Canada, he enrolled in university courses only this time in accounting. By the end of  3-years he had both the degree and his Canadian citizenship.


Somewhere along the way he spotted an RCMP recruiting advertisement, signed up, was accepted and then went through rigorous training in Regina before graduating to his first posting in Chilliwack where he settled with his wife and two children.


Life was going to script for the Baptiste family in Canada. Then the earthquake hit. Two days before his wife had arrived in Haiti on a holiday trip to see family. All communications were severed and he had no way of knowing if she was alive or dead.


Finally, after several excruciating days, news came in that she was alive but his brother, aunt, cousin and many friends weren't as fortunate and perished in the catastrophe.


Last month, the Voice covered a story, (see Feb 1st. "Earthquake Hits Chilliwack RCMP Hard") about members from Crossfit Training in Chilliwack who came together and raised funds for Haitian relief after learning that one of their own had lost family in the quake. The money was donated to the Red Cross as per Baptiste's wishes.


Carrying the flag into BC Place couldn't have been an easy thing to do with only a couple of billion people watching. Baptiste calmly told media in Vancouver that he was thrilled to escort the flag into BC Place for the opening.


"I kept thinking, My God, is it really me in Canada, carrying the flag? A Mountie. I wanted to cry” he said with a strong French accent. "Once I stood on that stage, holding that flag, I knew I would never wear my red serge the same way again. It would never be a chore to polish my boots. I       Governor General Michaelle Jean meets Cst. Baptiste at

am a Mountie. I am a      the airport last Tuesday. (submitted photo)



On the following Tuesday, Baptiste had an equally inspiring moment at the airport when he met his idol, Governor General Michaelle Jean, also originally from Haiti. Plus, he'll once again have the honor of carrying the flag at the closing ceremonies next Sunday.


This is just one story, one thread, in the 2010 Olympic tapestry that has wound it's way through the hearts of Canadians. Clearly the RCMP couldn't have found anyone more Canadian or more proud to wear the red serge and wide stetson.


Baptiste and his family are doing what many born here won't ever accomplish –– they're living the Canadian Dream.

                                                                                                                     © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


 Voice Local News                                       Wednesday February 24th 2010

Baggers and Bedposts


Bowl For The Kids

For Kids' Sake

Big Brothers & Big Sisters fundraiser kicks-off

March 12th

Staff report


There's A New Girl In Town

Shirley Wilson, is the new Executive Director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters for the Upper Fraser Valley, appeared on Starfm's morning show with Scott and Lisa to talk about the upcoming Bowl For Kids Sake in Chilliwack. The following is excerpts are from that conversation earlier this week.


Official Kick-off To The Bowl-a-thon

It's starting tomorrow morning (Tuesday) for all of our Fraser Valley agencies at the Abbotsford Sports Entertainment Centre at 8 am we're serving some current and past mayors some breakfast and we're going to Wii-bowl with some "littles."


Abbotsford Venue Shared With Olympic Festivities

We actually don't have to (move Olympic events and activities). We're going to be doing some "live" screen viewing of some hockey games but we're up in the VIP Lounge and if you've been up there, it's quite nice and long and we can actually set up some special tins and bowl as well.


Who'll Be Hangin'

Our Abbotsford mayor, George Ferguson, has agreed to step up, he's a little over 80-years-old now and he's going to bowl with a "little" and the Fraser Valley agencies, which are of course Upper Fraser Valley Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and Abbotsford, Mission, Ridge Meadows and Langley are all coming together with current dignitaries and former mayors who participated and supported youth in our community for all that time, about 40-years toll.

Practice Makes Perfect

I think is going to be one of those interesting challenges where the "littles" are going to have the home team advantage (over the "bigs").


On Wii Bowling

I have played Wii bowling and I am the big loser in my household.


The Main Event

Bowl For Kids' Sake is the Signature Fundraiser for Big Brothers & Big Sisters in the Upper Fraser Valley. It's a national event as well and locally it is extremely well supported and it's really important to Big Brothers - Big Sisters, this event.


Setting The Bar Higher This Year

This year we're looking to raise $80,000. It is a lot of money but will be well used. Last year's Bowl-A-Thon raised $72,000.


Bigs & Littles

We provide professional trained mentors who are screened and provide safe opportunities for our youth to be entered (in) with caring adults.


Wait Lists Are Worth Waiting For

It is been typically a 2-year wait for a young boy to be matched with a male. We do have a shortage of men who step up to be mentors. It is an unfortunate waiting list and we're trying to shorten that list.


Volunteers Are Ageless

There's no restrictions. They need to be an adult and they need to be able to complete the screening process successfully which is quite rigorous. It's one of the things that Big Brothers/Big Sisters is known for. In terms of the age, we actually are seeking some more senior citizens to come along and it's a great relationship between a "little" and a senior. We have a program called "Between Generations" but we also look for those young adult role models who are great and inspired and inspiring.


Oh Bowl For the Kids For Kids Sake!

March 5th is our first date and that's in Hope. We only have one lane left, that's great, and we start here on March 12th right to the 31st at Chillibowl and we have three of those sessions are sold out completely and we still have some other room available. Some are going quite quickly and some still have some other space, but we need to sell it out.


Registration and Pledges Online

This is our fourth year doing that and it's available and when it's used it's really great. It's efficient, it's safer than carrying cash on ya, so I highly encourage you to come to our website and use that option. It's really easy. You can just go online, register yourself or register your team and then you can e-mail directly from the website and you can encourage your friends to come right back online and make that donation on your behalf. There's actually a new added feature. You can upload a Facebook badge as well.


Great Prizes

If you're an individual bowler and you are the top pledge fundraiser you will actually win an exciting trip for two to Vegas.


To get signed up call Big Brothers at: 604-858-0828 or visit our website:  or drop by the office at: 45195 Wells Road.

 Voice Community News                                  Friday  February 26th 2010

 Weighing in for Wally


Catch And A Cut

Fishing is great on the Vedder River

Staff report


Weighing fish in on Friday for the Wally Hall Steelhead Derby at Fred's Fishing and Tackle on Yale Rd.


Yarek Koziura (right) of North Vancouver hooked a beauty Friday morning in the Chilliwack-Vedder River. His fish was about 8 lbs.


Dean MacDonald (below) of  Maple Ridge weighs in his gorgeous 14.2 lb. catch while a customer catches a hair cut  in the background at Gene's.



  Dean MacDonald weighs his steelhead in for the Wally Hall derby Friday morning at

  Fred's Fishing and Tackle on Yale Rd near the Chilliwack-Vedder River.


Wally Hall Steelhead Derby runs from Dec 1st to Mar 31, 2010.


Whether you're in the derby or just fishing for fun, every Steelhead weighed in at Fred's Custom Tackle receives a discount off any regular priced item (excluding Simms products) in the store on the day of your weigh-in relative to the size of your fish. For example, if the fish is under 15 pounds you receive a 10% discount. 15-20 pounds - 15% and fish over 20 pounds - 20 %. Sounds like fun, that is the whole idea. Good luck!


  Thought of the day - Never shake hands with a fisherman after he holds a fish.

                                                                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice


                                                                                                                        Craig Hill/Voice photos

Olympic fans were a no-show at Central Community Park Saturday to watch Olympic medal games on the big screen.


As I stood in the light morning drizzle at Central Community Park Saturday with some steamy joe in hand, I looked around and noticed that I was alone. The massive screen was showing curling and no one else was watching but myself and a red-coated security guard. There were actually more curling rocks on the screen than in the park watching it the entire time I was there.


The curious thing for me here is that after all of the complaining and whining last week in the media about not using the big screen TV, where were all those people now? Hello.


Perhaps the weather was to blame for the lack of people watching the Olympics on the big screen at Central Community Park Saturday. We certainly can't blame it on a lack of Olympic spirit because there is plenty of that as citizens demonstrated three weeks ago when the torch came through town.


Last week on short notice, the City of Chilliwack announced they were going to set up the little-used giant TV screen, rain or shine, in Central Park on Saturday for some medal events and again on Sunday at the Landing Sports Centre (Ag-Rec building) for the men's gold medal hockey game

and closing ceremonies.      Three kids did eventually show up for some eagerly

                                          anticipated cotton candy right at nose level.    


The screen became the object of media's attention last week when someone decided to complain about it sitting idle throughout the Olympic celebrations and games in Chilliwack.


Editorials were written and everyone seemed to have a say about the expensive screen that was supposedly rusting away in some warehouse. But that was before people were clued into the fact that the Olympic parade came with it's own big screen and the city couldn't use their screen. I don't know if anyone noticed but VANOC has some pretty tough rules that covered everything from what people ate to what they wore in venues.


Having said that, the city did drop the ball by promoting Abbotsford's Olympic venues instead of coming up with ideas for this town. City of Chilliwack officials are always open to hearing from the public. It's invaluable information to them and it's fair to citizens also when they listen.


So instead of collectively whining about a lack of Olympic events in Chilliwack, those who complained should turn that energy inward and come up with fresh ideas for the rest of us.


One more thing, thanks to the city for giving me my very own mega screen TV.


The screen will be set up at the Landing Sports Centre Sunday. Doors open at 11:30 am for the men's gold medal hockey game at 12:15. Later, watch as Canada hands over the Olympic flag to the next Winter Olympic hosts, Sochi, Russia at the Olympic Closing Ceremony from 5:30 pm until 9:30 pm.


                                                                                                            © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Big Screen Fails to Draw Big Crowds To Park

Fizzle in the drizzle Saturday but where are the screen complainers?




February 27th 30 2009

Joe Reporter

 The Joe Report

Voice Community News                                   Sunday  February 28th 2010

Parking Zen


From Island 22 To

Island 24/7

Overnight parking slated for park this summer

Craig Hill/Voice



                                                                                                                                         Voice file photo

Island 22 boat launch with the parking area to the right (not shown) in the photo.


This summer the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) will initiate a pilot project to allow overnight parking at Island 22. The gravel lot can hold about 150 pickup trucks and trailers and the ramp has room for a dozen to launch from at any one given time.


Island 22 Park is a world-class fishing spot for salmon, trout, steelhead and sturgeon. In peak season, the launch is bustling with tour guides bringing in clients clients from various parts of the planet and at times it seems the fishermen are almost as abundant as the fish. Almost.


Up until the summer of 2007, the campground was operating and provided for overnight use but left little room for vehicles to park while camping on the Fraser River.


Historically, fishermen drove in there, launched their boats and those camping on the gravel bars and riverbank just left their vehicle parked at Island 22, at their own risk of course.


Later the City and the FVRD agreed to co-manage the park. In a myopic move and without any consultation with the fisher community, they decided to stop overnight parking due to what they said were "insurance liability issues" and towed any vehicles left there overnight.


Great for the tow truck companies but not so for the fishers. It frustrated a lot of people.


Last year in November, Fred Hellmer of Fred's Fishing & Tackle and a delegation of parking supporters, presented the case to the Regional Parks Committee to have overnight parking again.


                                        A truck unloads boat at the park. Voice file photo.


On Friday, Hellmer spoke with the Voice. "They made a commitment to try and make it happen. For me it's a no-brainer, we should have it," said Hellmer in his store on Vedder. "It's good business. If you want to park your car there and pay for it."


Hellmer added that Chilliwack needs to enhance area fishing and work with fishers. Towing vehicles isn't small-town-friendly.


"If you're putting a sign out saying 'Chilliwack is Open For Business', that is the opposite message. You're telling people don't bother coming here. Go to Kilby or go to Mission," he said.


Another issue that was overlooked when the decision was made to stop overnight parking was the problem of safety. Fishermen in trouble. The first sign of a problem could be an abandoned vehicle. In the past, who was to know exactly who was out on the water and for how long?


Under the proposed system, authorities could know when someone is overdue simply because their parking hasn't been paid or they park beyond the weekend. Checks could be made of vehicles if the gate attendant logged their expected return times next to their vehicle plate numbers.


Hellmer said that the biggest liability of all could come if someone died as a result of the gates being locked.


"Let's just say that you and I go out, and we don't have any intention of leaving our vehicle there overnight. Let's say we fall out of a boat and so when the gate gets locked, what happens? They tow. If you don't phone anybody like the RCMP and you find out the next day somebody drowned, that to me is more of a liability," said Hellmer.


Having the gates unlocked and open 24/7 on weekends would also facilitate faster response times for Search and Rescue efforts during the busiest days when problems are most likely to occur.


The business of fishing is bigger than big in Chilliwack. It's the bread and butter for tourism in the city. The City, the FVRD, the Parks Department, local business and fishers should all work together to facilitate the sport year round.


"It's going to be a wonderful thing to have overnight parking there, absolutely for sure," said Hellmer.


The parking project begins weekends only from June 30th until September 5th. and there will be an attendant on site.


Overnight parking fees Schedule:

• $20/night to launch and park their vehicle adjacent to the boat launch.

• $50/3 nights on long weekends

• $50 extra for reg. seasonal boat launch pass for unlimited nights. ($100 total)

• $100 extra on commercial guide passes for unlimited nights. ($200 total)


In 2008, the park made almost $8500 above their operational costs and last year that figure increased to over $14,500. Those are quite the overages. The budget for servicing and maintaining the project will be $5,000. Parking revenues are expected to offset the costs.


There is no doubt this park is a money-maker. However it remains to be seen if the extra money will be used locally to enhance the overall fishing experience there, like installing new launches or upgrading existing ones and improving services, or if it will be used some place else that doesn't benefit Island 22 directly.


Any long-term management strategy for the park has to include overnight parking. If the park board wants to do right by fishermen and enhance business around the sport fishing industry, then they'll embrace the parking opportunity and expand it to 365 days a year.


                                                                                                                  © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice

Voice Local News                                              Sunday  February 28th 2010

 A Squatters Haven


Another Abandoned

Building Burns At Base

Is this the last or are there more

to come?

Craig Hill/Voice



                                                                                                                                Craig Hill/Voice photos

The twisted remains of an abandoned building (above) is all that remains after a fire razed it on Thursday. At one time the structure housed a sergeant's mess hall when the Chilliwack Forces Base was operational. Last year a spectacular blaze destroyed several other abandoned buildings also on the base. That fire was believed to have been intentionally set.


An abandoned building (top) sits next to the mess hall which burned. Curtains still hang on upper level windows while the bottom remains boarded up. Will this be another arson target for suspected squatters?


With some amendments the building could be put to use to temporarily house Chilliwack's homeless.


                                                                    © Copyright (c) The Valley Voice